Thursday, December 04, 2008

My brain is full!

I just have to say that my brain is so full, I really need to take time to sit down and start writing before my head explodes!!!!

I have to tell you about an experience I have had this fall. My church hosts the Alpha program each year. I have always wanted to take it to see what it is about and finally this fall I was able to do that. Unfortunately, I missed the retreat weekend but I was still able to watch the videos at home. It is really well done and I was impressed. I am very grateful for the time that I had getting to know new people in my church and learning from people who are just trying to figure out what having a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. I also attended with my neighbour and it was great getting to know her better free of four screaming children running around. Also, having a meal prepared for me and no dishes to do is always a blessing.

The last video we watched talked about Baptism. About how the old is being washed away to make way for the new. See
Romans 6. I will never forget my Baptism day. I grew up in a rural Baptist church. Being baptized was like a right of passage or something. You got to a certain age and you were baptized. Well, I didn't quite get it or didn't feel like I was ready so I didn't go with the flow.

Fast forward several years, I have rededicated my life to Christ and I am working at Muskoka Woods Sports Resort in Northern Ontario. I had already completed winter and spring crew and was coaching gymnastics during the summer camp. I had become friends with Rev. John McAuley the director and the opportunity came to become baptized. It was something that had been burning in me. I had come to MWSR with a lot of questions and I am so grateful for the Christian mentors I found that took the time to help me learn and discover who I was in Christ. During my time at MWSR I encountered and nurtured my relationship with Jesus Christ. Getting baptized was the next step, the Bible says believe and be baptized.

Calling home to share the news didn't go over well. My parents were disappointed because I wouldn't be getting baptized in the family Baptist church (even though our family no longer attended there) and my Grandmother would be upset because she would like me to be baptized in the church where she still attended. I called her and talked to her about it and I told her that I would have it video taped so that she could see it.

The day of my baptism started with a huge staff banquet which was a great time with friends. I left early to go and change for my dunking, I headed down to the lake and sat on the beach and prayed for a really long time. I hashed out a lot of things with God, asked for forgiveness for a lot of things I was still dealing with the regret from and asked God for strength and made promises to God that I was going to change my ways to become who He created me to be.

The time came and there were several staff members that we being Baptized that afternoon. I shared my testimony and walked into the lake with John. As we were walking he tells me with a smile, "If I hold you down too long just hit my legs and I will pull you up again." "Thanks!" I retort. We get out to where it is deep enough and he asks me about my faith and I go under, thankfully I didn't have to hit his legs. As I came out of the water all I remember seeing is a brilliant light. It was like the sun was brighter, the day was warmer, the trees looked greener. I felt like I had new eyes to see the world with. I felt clean, forgiven, loved, NEW! I still get chills remembering that moment.

After everyone had their turn John gave a little talk and his final statement was, "You're Baptized, now act like it." Being baptized means that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are making a public statement that you will follow him and be His example here on earth. I have often remembered that comment mostly because as the group of us were walking away from the beach one of the daughters of a staff member came up to us and said, "You're Baptist, now act like it." We all kind of laughed but it has been almost 15 years and I still remember it.

Unfortunately the tape of my baptism was erased before I was able to get a copy, but when my parents came up in November to move me back home my Grandmother came with them just so she could see the spot where I was baptized. Because it was a long drive I had made arrangements for my parents and Grandmother to spend the night. My parents asked me to stay in the room with my Grandmother so she wouldn't be scared being a different place. I remember thinking that was the last thing I wanted to do because it was my last night at camp and I wanted to hang out with my friends not go to bed early with my Grandmother. But I thought that since she had travelled so far for me that I should. That night as we were laying in our beds the moonlight shone into our room and I could see my Grandmothers silhouette as she laid on her back her eyes closed and her hands folded in prayer. I'm sure she looked just like an angel praying to our Heavenly Father. You could feel His presense as she communed with Him through her bedtime prayer. That is an image I will never forget.

I dedicated my book to this glorious woman of prayer and if you watched me on 100 Huntley Street you saw me tear up as Moira asked about this special woman.

That day changed my life. There were times I was tempted to go back to my old comfortable way of doing things. But strength came when needed and I knew that there was more for me than what I was chosing for myself. Thank you God that my sinful life died that day and you created the beautiful, unique woman that I am tonight. To you be all the glory!!!!!!

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